6 facts you need to know about Beetlejuice
For a quirky little comedy about ghosts, Beetlejuice has done quite well establishing itself as a timeless classic. Not only was it one of director Tim Burton’s seminal early works, it also features excellent performances from Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder, Alec Baldwin, and more. Made on a modest budget in 1988, the film raked in $73 million (160 million adjusted for inflation) and was the 10th biggest box office hit of the year.
We’ll be showing it at our 30 year anniversary Beetlejuice Halloween party, click here to find out all the deets!
1.How the cast came together.
Tim Burton had to work his ass off to get all the actors he wanted for Beetlejuice. Geena Davis was on board from the start, but Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, and Michael Keaton all initially passed on the film. The director ended up flying out to meet O’Hara and convince her to take the part. Catherine O’Hara wasn’t originally set to be in the movie at all – the role of Delia Deetz went to Anjelica Huston initially, but she had to withdraw from the film due to illness.
2. Beetlejuice is tied with Batman for Michael Keaton’s favourite role ever.
Considering the movie is named after his character, Michael Keaton has a surprisingly small amount of screen time as Beetlejuice — only 17 minutes. It took barely two weeks for him to film all his scenes, much of which was ad-libbed. Keaton credited the crew for encouraging his creativity on set. The first time he showed up in costume, everyone on the soundstage started chanting “Juice! Juice! Juice!”
Tim Burton left much of the character’s development up to Keaton, simply saying Beetlejuice had “lived in every time period, but was of no time period.” Keaton used the creative freedom to add various elements to Beetlejuice — the crazy hair, the mold, and the false teeth were all his ideas. He allegedly based his performance on the character Chop Top from Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.
3.Warner Bros wanted to originally call the film ‘House Ghosts’
The producers hated the movie name “Beetlejuice” and pressured Burton to rename the movie “House Ghosts,” which is an impressive name in its absolute blandness. Burton jokingly suggested “Scared Sheetless” as an alternative title and was shocked when studio execs went along with the name.
4. Tim Burton’s girlfriend has a nice set of legs.
Remember the magician’s apprentice in the afterlife waiting room who had obviously died getting sawed in half? That character’s legs were played by Tim Burton’s girlfriend at the time.
5. Sammy Davis Jr. was Burton’s first choice for Beetlejuice
Director Tim Burton originally wanted Rat Pack-member Sammy Davis Jr.—who was 63-years-old at the time—to play Beetlejuice. Producer David Geffen suggested actor Michael Keaton, who was ultimately chosen and would go on to appear in two other Burton films—Batman and Batman Returns.
6. Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian: The sequel that was never made.
Beetlejuice was a major box office success, pulling in three times as much money as it cost to make. So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Warner Bros. wanted a sequel made. What is surprising: Tim Burton was completely on board with the idea, and put together a treatment where the Deetz family travels to Hawaii with plans to open a hotel resort. Local residents both alive and dead fight back against the development plans, and the final showdown involved Beetlejuice turning into a giant monster called “Juicifer,” and Winona Ryder’s character summoning a tidal wave to sweep all the supernatural creatures into the ocean.